November 29, 2011
One of Baltimore City’s most underserved neighborhoods received funding for a facelift recently in the form of a $60,000 grant from the USDA. The grant, known as the People’s Garden Grant, was designed “to invest in urban and rural areas identified as food deserts and/or food insecure areas, particularly those with persistent poverty” (USDA). Cherry Hill—a neighborhood without a full-service supermarket and where more than 90 percent of non-married families live below the Maryland Self-Sufficiency Wage (an index of how much income is needed for a family to adequately meet their basic needs without public or private assistance)—is a quintessential food insecure area. “We are so thankful to the USDA for coming to Cherry Hill,” remarked Ms. Juanita Ewell, a lifetime resident of Cherry Hill who helped establish one of the neighborhood’s first community gardens.
The $60,000 award will be divided among existing community organizations within Cherry Hill, who will partner to plant community and school gardens, and deliver education programs that promote gardening and healthy eating. The area was one of just eleven grant-awardees nationwide. Congratulations Cherry Hill!!
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) manages the People’s Garden Grant Program (PGGP), with funding from the Agriculture Marketing Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Food and Nutrition Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The grants, announced November 10, 2011, total $725,000, and are the first awards given under the PGGP. USDA received more than 360 proposals requesting more than $4 million.